By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Dearborn Fire Chief Joseph Murray announced at the May 18 Melvindale City Council meeting that the Fire Department was awarded a $164,586 grant for safety and operations from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Program.
The department, which serves Dearborn and Melvindale, learned that day from the office of U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) that the AFG grant would provide money for training for firefighters and officers, hazardous materials and technical rescue.
“The congresswoman did a great job helping us out with that,” Murray said. “Much appreciation to her. It’s going to do a lot for our firefighters, and hopefully improve our service.”
Murray said the department applied for the competitive federal grant in January, and Dingell wrote a letter of support for the department.
“She is always tirelessly working for us and advocating for Dearborn,” Murray said. “Every time application periods open, she is on the phone with us, asking what she can do to help and any support that we need.”
Murray said off-duty firefighters would receive overtime pay through the grant so other firefighters could take training without being on-call.
“As busy as we are, we need help in not only paying for the courses, but actually paying for overtime and back-fill because it is very difficult with some of these technical classes to do it on duty,” Murray said. “The extra assistance from the federal government to be able to take guys off the line to participate in training, and back-fill is very hopeful.”